Justice League: Does New, Darker JLA Ignore Why We Love Superheroes?

The Justice League has been front and center a lot lately. Fans will tell you the DC Heroes are finally getting their due, both on the big screen and on the small screen. New live action movies, TV shows, and animated series are all in the works, including what is touted in a report in Variety as a new, darker animated series featuring the Justice League.

Going dark with superheroes is nothing new, of course. Ever since the campy Batman of the 60s and the (if such a thing is possible) even campier Superfriends of the 70s, the trend has been towards showing a more human, occasionally darker side to superheroes. Batman is probably the best case in point, as movie directors have increasingly cast Gotham City’s favorite son in a dark light, showing how his tortured soul led to his thirst for justice. Still, do we really need all of our Justice League superheroes to have a dark side? Does anyone really want to view Wonder Woman or The Flash in that light?

It’s easy to understand why Justice League filmmakers are eager to paint the DC Universe heroes in a darker light. After all, it’s worked well for Marvel superheroes. Still, the move begs the question of whether those making the new iterations of the Justice League — both live action and animated versions — aren’t possibly ignoring the reason that we love superheroes in the first place.

Let’s face it — the real world is often not a black and white place. There are often shades of grey; criminals often have what many of us would consider valid reasons for committing their crimes, while some of those who wear a badge sometimes fail to live up to the ideals of their profession. For many, the often black and white, cut and dried world of superheroes and their arch nemeses is a retreat, a place where things make sense even when they don’t in the real world.

One superhero fan, Chris Williams, while admitting he’s more a fan of the Marvel Universe than of the Justice League, put it like this.

“I’m a little hesitant about it (making superheroes darker), in the sense that it violates some of the nostalgia I feel for the genre. When I was a kid, everything was simple, and now that I’m an adult, I want a place I can go where everything is simple again, even if it’s a vicarious thing. I don’t mind a hero having some personal struggles (Wolverine is a great example), but I want to feel like he’s fighting evil more more than just a paycheck, so to speak. I don’t want to see them make the heroes too dark. There still needs to be some kind of moral boundary to tell the white and black hats apart.”

Some people take their Justice League superheroes very seriously. In an earlier Inquisitr interview (which was granted initially in response to a tongue in cheek article about the casting of Jason Momoa as Aquaman), which you can read here, author Doug Youngs, who has created his own darker, more human team of superheroes, shared how he felt the escape into the Justice League’s clear-cut, black and white world of heroes vs. villains helped save him and his brothers from an abusive upbringing.

What do you think? Do you prefer your superheroes to have deep, dark backgrounds, or do you just want them to fly into larger than life problems, kick the snot out of some super villains (preferably without backstories that make us feel sorry for them) and then chill at the Justice League headquarters and end the show with a campy joke or two?

[Image via Bing]

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